Lacko vs. Nishikori
|Date & Time||Thursday January 19, 2017, 9:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Kei Nishikori and Lukas Lacko meet in the third round of the 2017 Australian Open.
Kei Nishikori is coming off a straight sets win over Jeremy Chardy that took 28 games to decide. In the victory, Nishikori won 67 percent of his first serve points and 56 percent of his second serve points. Nishikori needed a quick and easy victory after a draining first round, and he got just what the doctor ordered. Nishikori won nearly 50 percent of his return points in his last match and has been on fire with his service game overall. As long as Nishikori stays fit and doesn’t tire out, he’s a threat to anyone in the field. Nishikori looks to make the fourth round of a grand slam for the fifth straight time. Nishikori has won five of his last six matches on hard court.
Lukas Lacko is coming off a four set win over Dudi Sela that took 35 games to decide. In the victory, Lacko won 68 percent of his first serve points and 54 percent of his second serve points. Lacko has been very aggressive at the net this tournament and will give himself a chance as long as he continues to get his first serve in play. Lacko has been an early surprise in this tournament after beating a top-30 player in Albert Ramos-Vinolas and now his second match victory. The confidence has to be building for Lacko, who was a top-50 player a few years ago, and guys like that have a chance to be dangerous due to the lack of expectations. Lacko hopes to make the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time in his career. Lacko has won eight of his last nine matches on hard court.
These two have played twice in the past and Nishikori has won both meetings. The most recent match took place in Washington in 2014, a match Nishikori won in 25 games. This will be their third meeting on hard court.
You take anything away from Lacko with the way he’s played up to this point and the fact he already beat a respectable player in the first round. He’s a dangerous third round opponent given his current form. However, there are only a few players I put above a healthy Nishikori. It’s hard to match his endurance, shotmaking and overall play in a five set match. Lacko won’t be able to keep up.
I’ll take Nishikori to win this match in three or four sets.